As a Jacksonville resident, you know there’s always something going on! Whether it be a Jags game, a festival, or a concert, Jacksonville stays busy. One of the biggest events of the year, the Gate River Run, will be held Saturday March 7th. Why is this 15k race such a big deal? For the past 20 years, The Gate has been voted as one of the top US road races by the Runner’s World Magazine.
The Gate originated in 1978 as the Jacksonville River Run, with Bill Rodgers as the race’s first winner. Rodgers has also been a four-time winner of both the New York City and Boston Marathons. The American 15K men’s record was set by Todd Williams at the 1995 GRR, with a time of 42:22. Williams is no stranger to the Gate. He’s a five-time winner! On the women’s side, Shalane Flanagan set a record in 2014, with a finish time of 47:00. In 1994 Gate Petroleum became the underwriting sponsor, and the race’s name was changed to The Gate River Run.
In 2007, the Gate River Run became the largest 15K race in the country, and it’s still growing. This year's race is expected to host more than 15,000 runners. This is nearly double the size of the 2000 race, but Jacksonville can handle it. Director Doug Alred believes the city could even handle 20,000 runners with ease.
For those who are not part of the 15,000 runners in this year's marathon, it’s important to note the road closures on race day. Duval Street between Randolph Blvd and Franklin Street will be the first to close, starting at noon on Friday March 6th, through 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Here’s the list of official closures and times for race day:
Duval Street (Jacksonville Fairgrounds to Main Street Bridge): 7:15 AM – 8:45 AM
Main Street Bridge: 7:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Riverplace Blvd – Prudential Drive: 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
San Marco Blvd (Prudential to Laverne): 8:00 AM -9:30 AM
River Road and River Oaks Road: 8:15 AM – 9:45 AM
Hendricks Ave (River Oaks to Alexandria): 8:20 AM – 10:00 AM
Alexandria and Belote: 8:20 AM – 10:15 AM
Atlantic Blvd. West Bound (Belote to Holmesdale): 8:20 AM – 10:30 AM
Holmesdale, Nicholson, Olive and Gay: 8:20 AM – 10:45 AM
Atlantic Blvd. West Bound (Gay to Hart Bridge): 8:20 AM – 11:00 AM
Hart Bridge Southeast Bound (Atlantic Blvd to Duval Street: 7:45 AM -11:30 AM
As for those 15,000 running the Gate River Run, the starting line is on Duval Street in front of the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, and all participants should be in position by 7:30 a.m.
From competitive runners to small children and families, this race has something for everyone! The Junior River Run is a free one-mile fun run open to all children under the age of 13. All children who complete the run will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag. For kids under 24 months old, there’s a free Diaper Dash at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, to the left of the stage. Those who enter will receive a free Diaper Dash T-shirt!
The 21-and-over crowd can also find something fun and rewarding on race day! There will be 120 kegs of Miller Beer, as well as live music and entertainment along each mile marker of the race.
Don’t miss out on Jacksonville’s annual Gate River Run, one of the city’s biggest events of the year!
March weather in Jacksonville is known to be humid, and can sometimes reach 80-degree temperatures. Whether you’re running, walking or watching from the sidelines, make sure you stay hydrated! What better way to show support for your group of runners than with custom water bottles! Jacksonville-based 904 Custom offers all sorts of personalized products that are great for Jax events like the Gate!
Author: Bailey Husker, Holmes Content Team